Cindy Sheehan is leaving the Democratic Party.
You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.
Honestly, I feel nothing but an obscenely guilty pleasure at this pronouncement. Dear Mother Sheehan has been pushing this party even further away from the center than ever before, and even faster than Rush Limbaugh ever dragged the Republicans to the political right. (Yes, dear reader. There is an insult in there somewhere. Exactly who it is directed towards, however, is up for debate.) Her constant beating of the drum has, over time, become the same sound as the drumbeat emanating from the White House, only on an opposing wavelength. The only people that have ever truly taken her seriously were the ones that were already true believers and fellow travelers, while the rest of us in the Democratic Party sat there and rolled our collective eyes whenever Dear Mother opened her mouth.
And yet, I must thank her. Not for Camp Casey. Not for being against the enormity on the Euphrates. Not even for telling Speaker Pelosi to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. Instead, I must thank her for helping me to see what is happening with my party and how it is beginning to betray its bedrock principles.
And I just know that you are sitting there, scratching your heads, asking yourselves, “Dude, how the heck did you reach this? Which logical limb did you take a flying leap off of this time?”
Let me show you why it really is a guilty pleasure, beyond the definition of obscenity.
With this send-off letter, Cindy only shows that she does as much to continue the Republican viewpoint on Iraq as the White House Press Office, to wit, she kept on calling it a war. As I have been saying for almost 18 months now, this is not a war. She and the rest of the anti-armed-conflict Democrats keep helping the current Administration’s constant drumbeat by calling it such.
And, by doing so, this party continues to play the wrong cards. It is a constant talking point out of the Congressional Majority Leaders’ offices that the voters sent the Republicans a message that they were tired of the “War In Iraq” whenever they butt heads with the White House. That they wanted a change. That they weren’t satisfied with “hold the course” anymore. So why do they continue to use the White House talking point, the same one that Alberto Gonzales could not let stand while under oath in front of the Senate in 2006?
There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq. It was an authorization to use military force.
I only want to clarify that, because there are implications. Obviously, when you talk about a war declaration, you’re possibly talking about affecting treaties, diplomatic relations. And so there is a distinction in law and in practice. And we’re not talking about a war declaration. This is an authorization only to use military force.
If my fellow Democrats are serious about ending the debacle on the Tigris, we need to stop helping the Administration sell the policies we claim to despise. We are not at war with Iraq. We have never been at war with Iraq. We have someone calling himself a “War President” without any silly technicalities such as an actual war. And we on the left side of the double-yellow-line keep helping him say that whenever we stand up against the “war” in Iraq.
And the reason my party has done this is simple. The Democratic Party, especially their most vocal supporters on the progressive left, does not want to break with politics as usual. Why? Because politics as usual is precisely what they are counting on to support their policies and personal agendas, especially now that the Democrats have taken control of both chambers of Congress. After all, you cannot use the boat if you rock it too much. It is in the Democrats vested interest to keep the vested interests in play. And they have done so.
Those who I call the “Honest Republicans”, such as bloggers John Cole and Robert Lee Ray as well as many prominent moderate Republican families, have either broken or are threatening to break from what the current ultra-hardcore neo-conservative movement that the modern Republican Party has become. Why? Because the GOP has broken away from their traditional position of a small and responsible government. Because the single-issue supporters within the GOP have all but subsumed the platform. Because the GOP believes more in the Conservative Cause than it does in the American Constitution.
And I regret that I am starting to see the same thought process within the Democratic Party. We were once the party for the people, not the special interests. We were once the party of hard questions, not easy escapes. We were once the party of grand visions, not short-sighted maneuvers. We were once the party of fixing what was broken, not throwing temporary patches over the holes.
The current Democratic Party is no longer the party of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, any more than the current Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. And both parties have traveled far afield from the principles of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, John Hancock… No longer are the principles of the Founding Fathers to be found.
And that frightens me. To be perfectly honest, it scares the [CENSORED] out of me. And I have to ask myself one question: Am I reading the writing on the wall, or am I the one writing on the wall?
Am I really the only one on this side of the political divide that is seeing this pattern? Am I the only one that points towards our bedrock principles, both as Democrats and Americans, and screams to the winds “Why are we so far away?” Am I the lone voice crying in the wilderness?
Because if I have to, I will. This is not solely the party of Duncan Black and Amanda Marcotte and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, or of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama.
This is my party too. And if I have to fight for my place in the Democratic Party, then perhaps it is true. The Democratic Party will no longer be the Democratic Party when it betrays its most basic foundation principle: a place where all voices have the right to be heard.
I will be heard.
I will not suffer in silence.
I will dissent.
Until the end of the world.
Truly, the reason why I feel guilty about this is because Cindy Sheehan no longer is willing to fight for the same thing. And the reason why I am afraid is that the party just does not care any more. That it no longer exists to represent our views, our politics, our opinions… But instead, it exists only for itself. And the day that this becomes true, than this will no longer be my party. And when that day comes, will I have the intestinal fortitude to leave it to die? Or will I pull the plug myself?
If that is not of the Platonic Form of obscene thought, I do not want know what is.
[Crossposted from Left Off Colfax]